J&K Polls 2014: Youths killing in Badgam could bring AFSPA back to campaign plank
Police had already rounded up senior separatist leaders and restricted some of them to their homes to halt their anti-poll campaign.
The Army was quick to initiate a probe and police registered a murder case against Army, but the incident is sure to bring the controversial issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as a political issue in the coming days. Currently, all the parties are focusing on rebuilding flooddevastated Kashmir but now security-related issues could take over.
Police had already rounded up senior separatist leaders and restricted some of them to their homes to halt their anti-poll campaign. Now they will rule the roads even from custody. Kashmir will be on a protest strike on Wednesday on their call.
Soldiers manning three drop gates, which had emerged overnight, on a busy road link to south Kashmir, opened fire on a car near Chattergam. Instead of immobilizing the car, that allegedly avoided responding to a halt sign, by bursting its tyres, soldiers targeted four teenagers travelling in it. Later, they drove them to the army hospital: two were declared ‘brought dead’; two others are still battling for their lives. Now army says they are stable.
Regretting the killings, Lt Gen Subrata Saha commander of the 15 corps explained the soldiers had laid an ambush following reports that a car and a motorcycle had disappeared. He said a court of inquiry was initiated and the soldiers involved in the incident were shifted out.
Asserting that the incident has “vitiated” the atmosphere in Kashmir already confronted with the post-flood reconstruction challenge, CM Omar Abdullah has already talked to Arun Jaitely and protested over the incident.
The shooting, first major incident involving army and civilians, after the September floods, has the potential of flaring up. Floods had witnessed soldiers roaming around without any guard, perhaps for the first time since 1990. Regardless of the alleged pick-and-choose during rescue, commoners were admitting the army help in September.